April 18, 2017

ACC Is Making Crosswalks Safer All Over Athens


Photo Credit: Austin Steele

Workers install a pedestrian refuge island on Prince Avenue at Piedmont College Tuesday morning.

Athens-Clarke County workers are installing two pedestrian refuge islands on Prince Avenue this week, and similar improvements will be coming to other parts of the city within the next couple of months.

The Transportation and Public Works Department is installing the islands at mid-block crosswalks at Pope Street and Piedmont College. They give pedestrians a place to pause safely after crossing two lanes of traffic before crossing the other two.

"They're small, but they do provide some protection for the pedestrian," TPW Traffic Engineer Steve Decker said.

In addition to the islands, TPW will be giving the crosswalks a fresh coat of paint and installing solar-powered rectangular rapid flashing beacons similar to those at the Newton Street crosswalk on Prince.

That crosswalk is scheduled to be moved to a safer location on the other side of Newton once the 100 Prince project at the former St. Joseph Catholic Church gets underway.

The islands will be similar to those TPW recently installed on Milledge Avenue near Clarke Central High School.

Once the Prince islands are done, Decker said the department will move on to Cedar Shoals Drive, North Avenue and Baxter Street. Crosswalks with islands and RFPPs will be installed on Cedar Shoals at the Barrington Drive and East Paces Drive intersections, and on North Avenue near the Department of Labor building. ("That one really scares me," Decker said.)

The projects are part of a slate of pedestrian and bike improvements the ACC commission approved in November.

Decker said work should be finished on Prince by Thursday, and he hopes to wrap up the other projects by the end of May.